It’s that time of year again where we are all to be found wandering glassy eyed about the tinsel bedecked high street listlessly thumbing over packaged presents with an ever increasing feeling of desperation that we will never get the blasted Christmas shopping done. Fun, isn’t it? There is nothing like giving a present that you really can’t wait to give but when Christmas comes around and present giving en masse is required it can all become very panic making. I spent an afternoon wandering about the shops yesterday and returned with some glittery twigs and a fake robin for my trouble. Lovely for the Christmas explosion in my living room but not exactly what I was hoping for when I set off.
I long to give well thought out personal presents that don’t immediately end up in someone’s bottom draw but it really is much easier wished for than done. It’s the annual dilemma but a very privileged one to have as the problem really arises from the fact that we all have so much already. I tend not to give charity gifts to my family as I like to get them something for themselves, I'm a fan of homemade gifts for that, and I intend to do the same this year. I did however decide to use the charity gift scheme to add someone else to my Christmas list this year as well as the usual trinkets to my friends and family. I don’t say this to give you warm fuzzy feelings about how nice I am (that would be a grave exaggeration anyhow!) but in the hope that it might give you and others a merrier Christmas if it is something you decide to do yourself.
I’m reading a book at the moment called Cutting for Stone which is set in Ethiopia. One of the main characters becomes a gynaecologist and a condition I had heard of before is mentioned in some depth – obstetric fistula. There are details about it here if you wanted to read up but needless to say it is a terrible, yet curable, affliction that has women cast out of their communities. In the gospel stories a woman reaches out and touches Jesus’ cloak and is healed and it has been suggested that this may be what she was suffering from. Women were cast out of society for the condition then and they still are now. So for Christmas I decided to save some pennies and buy someone an operation to fix a fistula. I did this through Mercy Ships, who I know do great work around the world. UNICEF, Oxfam and others all do similar schemes offering all sorts of gifts from equipment for a safe delivery of a baby to a hundred vaccinations against measles. That’s a gift that won’t end up gathering dust and what better to give at Christmas than new life? That's what the season is all about after all.
Happy Advent lovely blog readers.